This mom is not ready to let go…

He could always make my heart melt with his chocolate brown eyes. Even at age three he was a little grown-up with a huge vocabulary. People always smiled at the eloquent way the little guy spoke Afrikaans (our first language), and he wrote his first poem before he could spell. 

My sweet little boy, Jean, is now a man of 21  who is ready to spread his wings and fly. He graduated from college, found a great job, and is looking for his own place to stay.

It’s all so wonderful! Just one problem: I’m not ready…

It’s not that I don’t want him to enjoy every minute of his new and exiting journey – because I do! It’s not that I’m not grateful – because I am so grateful for the positive direction his life is taking. It’s simply a matter of me not being ready to let go…

Nothing really prepares us for this, does it?

I’m not ready for his little red car to no longer be parked outside my window. I’m not ready to stop falling over his shoes in the hallway. I still want to see him snuggle with his little sister Christie, huddle over a piece of artwork with Jason, and I still want to lay in bed and hear him laugh with Terrance into the early morning hours. I’m not ready to let go of the long and rich conversation we have about anything from politics to pumpkin. I’m so not ready to cook authentic South African food without my oldest chopping, stirring, and adding things to age old recipes.

I really don’t want to be a mother who keeps controlling until she’s resented, but I also don’t want him to think that I stopped caring. Because the truth is that I lay awake wondering, worrying, and praying that God will keep him safe, give him wisdom, help him choose wisely, and especially that our Father will always keep him close…

A dear friend reminded me recently that when separation is most difficult for me, it is probably most crucial for his future.

It’s still hard but I’m learning slowly that separating from my young adult or teenager is a balancing act between CONTROL and FREEDOM

By slowly letting go (even if it’s super difficult for me) I am…

  • Equipping him to face the world out there while I’m still close enough to help
  • Letting him find out who he is and what he truly likes
  • Letting him develop his own relationship with God
  • Keeping my door open if he wants to talk or ask for advice in the future
  • Forging and preserving a new relationship with him that will go the distance

I wrote this poem a while ago when the “letting-go” process started. I believe there is only one way for us moms to endure these deep emotions: Hiding under the everlasting wing of the One who sees us. Jean is my oldest, so I still have to let go THREE MORE TIMES – Lord have mercy on this poor mama! For now I’ll pretend I have plenty of time and enjoy the sweeties I still have close to home.

 

He sees me…


invisible I am
in the kitchen
doing the laundry
picking up their shoes


watching, always watching
for a smile, a tear, a frown
waiting, always waiting
for the right time to talk


and I hurt, because they go
and I stay
and I cry, because they reach for tomorrow
and I still sit quietly with yesterday in my hand…


I long for the revealing of their greatness
I pray for their dreams to come true
every day they strive, hurt, laugh, dream, cry, love
and invisible I watch and I hold my breath


they don’t know it
they don’t see me
and yet
, He sees me…

and He smiles…


a mom

10 Years Free from Bulimia!

Here comes one of my candid heart-to-heart posts. Forgive me for being too open at times, but I do think that you ladies deserve nothing less, seeing that I’m always encouraging you to be real. It’s difficult to spill the beans about my own life, but I do realize that God can only bless me, especially in this kind of ministry, if I’m honest with you all.

Last month (July 2011) has been exactly 10 years since God set me free from diet pills and the binging and purging cycle of Bulimia!

I am so grateful to God! It took a journey and a lot of healing, but there was a definite time when I knew something happened and that I would never be the same again. There’s a song that Darlene Zschech of Hillsong sings  “I will never be the same again…” I heard this song years ago when God brought freedom to this area of my life, and I have been singing it every since. I especially held on to the verse “There are higher hights, there are deeper seas, whatever you need to do, Lord do in me, The Glory of God fills my life and I will never be the same again

I am not very patient and the hardest thing that I had to do was to wait for God’s timing for my healing. I wanted it yesterday and I wanted it all done at once. It didn’t work that way. I had to learn to trust God with His particular “plan of healing” for me.

I know He was trying to teach me patience, but He was really also testing my heart and testing my motives. I told you ladies before that my relationship with God consisted for a long time of me asking Him to make me skinny. It wasn’t a sincere relationship, but rather me bargaining with God. The biggest mistake I made was to think that He didn’t know. As if He’s not God Almighty who can see in the heart of every human. I am ashamed when I think of that, but I have asked God to forgive me and help me love Him in a way that is worthy of Him. A pure and genuine way that has all to do with Him and nothing to do with what I can get out of Him for my own gain.

But in spite of all of this I still get impatient, because I don’t feel that I can say “I will never fall again” and I so want to say that. In these instances I argue with God that surely I have suffered enough and have enough patience by now. Can He not just speak a word now and let it be done. But then there are times when I just come before Him, so in awe of His beauty, so in love with Him that I just blurt it out: “Oh Lord I don’t care if I will never be totally free from this, I don’t care if you never give me anything again, just let me love you like this for the rest of my life”

And indeed it is this “making peace” with the fact that I probably will have to deal with fall and getting up (obviously in a lesser fashion) for the rest of my life, that I’ve experienced the most peace. By not reaching for the perfect track record anymore, I have actually given things over to God’s time table. I am doing what I can to not fall of course, but if I slip, I don’t beat myself up anymore. I don’t go into a three year relapse anymore and I don’t think: I will never be free from this. Because, really I am free. Every day that I give this struggle over to the Holy Spirit I am free. Come to think of it: If God is using this to keep me close to him, isn’t it then a blessing in disguise?

Hard times with food during the last 10 years…

I know you probably hoped that I don’t fall anymore, and that I could tell you that for the past 10 years I have never binged or looked at a fad diet. What I can tell you is: Seldom. These times of falling seems to happen when there is some area in my life that God wants to work on and I refuse to let Him. During times like these I inevitably turn back to my old lover: food. So if I can just get a clue, that will be helpful right?

Let me tell you about two specific incidents these past 10 years when I picked up my crutch of overeating again. I’m so grateful that I never opened the back door of binging and purging again, but I have turned to overeating and “grazing” to help me cope with stress and life.

After my baby girl was born – 2006:
By God’s grace my eating disorders didn’t flare up during my pregnancy with my sweet little gift from God 5 years ago. However, after Christie was born panic struck me because of the weight I had to lose. I wrote all about this in my 40 day journal  in the members area of my 12 Week Online Program. The bottom line: I was looking for a quick fix because I hated the extra weight and I was scared that I would always look that way. After some kicking and screaming (again!), I finally got a clue and  followed the same steps I’ve written down for you throughout this program. Basic Biblical principals of repenting from all unbelief, pride, and denial and letting the Holy Spirit search my heart and heal the things that still needed healing. After trying a few fad diets I finally turned to a decent program – Weight Watchers, and slowly shook off the weight and regained my peace with God’s help and the support of friends and WW groups.

The past year (2010 – 2011):
My close circle of friends and also those of you who have been faithfully following my blog will know that this past year has been a tough one on our family. My husband lost his job, couldn’t find another, and as a result we started up a bunch of internet businesses. We have been doing webdesign just for fun before and had a few e-commerce businesses that didn’t bring in a lot of money in the past, but now this became our main source of income. You can just imagine having your business smack in the middle of your home while trying to home school your kids, and still support others… It was a nightmare at best. Our financial situation kept looking bleaker and the stress accumulated as the year went by. We are still pretty much in the thick of things, but I have at least found other schooling options for my children for the coming year and finally started surrendering this situation to God.

With all this busyness I started spending less time with God, and less time in the Word. I’ve warned you ladies many times that if we don’t get washed by the water of the Word and lay our cares at Jesus’ feet in prayer that we start to “stink” because of the filth and worries of this world. This is exactly what happened to me this last year, and I turned to an old familiar outlet – food. I’m so grateful to God that I never turned back to serious binging and purging, however I started eating all day long to get rid of the stress – only it didn’t help of course.

My husband and I each picked up about 40 pounds, and the shame and guilt I felt became my daily companion. FINALLY I turned again to my own program (after reading an amazing testimony of a member and bawling my eyes out!) I repented once more of the pride (that I could fix our situation by working super hard), the denial (that I’m still in control of my eating when I have not been for a year) and the unbelief (that God couldn’t not possibly save me AGAIN)

I also started crying out to God for a program to help both me and my husband lose the weight we have gained. Weight Watchers wasn’t working this time around – I tried doing it online but couldn’t attend a group meeting and because of no accountability I just dropped the ball every Friday afternoon. Our new schedule also left me with absolutely no time for regular shopping and menu planning, so after 12 hours behind the computer and going hours without food I kept just “giving up” and kept grabbing the closest junk food. My husband was actually the one who found us something that could help in the midst of our crazy busy lives. He told me that friends of ours at a neighboring church was doing a program and were losing tons of weight. I didn’t want to hear of it – meal replacements! It sounded like a fad diet to me if ever I’ve heard of one. I kept arguing with him about the price of the food and how I can just make similar healthy meals for us (as if I’ve not tried doing that many times before). Long story short, I reluctantly submit to my husband – the guy who in my mind “knew absolutely nothing about food stuff”. God ended up using this program to save us both. It was actually the same plan that a friend of mine have used to lose ALL of her weight and maintained for two years. I’ve watched her but was too proud to ask before. I then started hearing of other people I know who have had the same amazing experience with lasting results because of the coaching that goes along with it.  You can go read all about my “skeptical journey” on the members forum if you are a member of my program: Heleen’s Journal on Take Shape for Life

The results were MORE THAN I EVER EXPECTED. I was wowed by the variety of food, the “hands-and-mind-off-food” place that I’ve entered by not having to slave over the stove preparing meals, the difference it made to have a coach work with you every step of the way, the fast weight loss, and the surge of energy which came as a result of eating 6 meals packed with vitamins, calcium, and protein every day.  I’m so grateful to God for yet another tool that I can pass on to you ladies.

It has been months now that I’m walking free from the compulsive overeating that has been plaguing me the last year, and as far as the future is concerned… I know that as long as I do certain things consistently, stay far away from perfection and stay as close as humanly possible to God, I am doing great.
And days that I don’t do so great? Well I might finally be getting a clue that God is working in me,  and I pray that I will be working with Him more, because more than anything I desire to know Him more and love Him more…

 

Micah 7: 7-8

But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light

Isaiah 61; 1-4

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor. 
They will rebuild the ancient ruins

and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.

 

Thank you Jesus that you came to bring freedom and healing to my life and the life of every person who might be reading this post today!

Amazed by Grace
Heleen

 

 

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